Teen who charmed Internet with ‘laser cat’ yearbook photo takes own life
Seventeen-year-old Draven Rodriguez, the Schenectady High School senior whose battle to have a photograph with his cat in the yearbook went viral last September, took his own life Thursday night according to The Daily Gazette‘s Ned Campbell.
Rodriguez’s fight to have a laser-festooned photograph of him and his cat, “Mr. Bigglesworth,” included in the yearbook as his senior picture was featured here at Raw Story, the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and even warranted him a mention on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
“I don’t want to go in the yearbook with the generic ‘I-look-like-everyone-else’ photo,” he told The Daily Gazette about the attention the story garnered. “I wanted a ‘He looks great. Only he would try that’ photo. When people look at it, they will know that was me.”
His bid was, however, unsuccessful in the end. The school refused to allow the photograph to be placed alongside other senior portraits.
In a compromise, Principal Diane Wilkinson allowed him to pose with her in a similarly styled photograph that would appear on Wilkinson’s page along with a message about animal rescue and adoption.
For that photograph, Rodriguez was honored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady. At the time of his death, he was also involved in a local anti-bullying initiative.